Google offers Android updates only to contest winners

A Google worker accidentally sent an SDK update, meant only for winners of a developers' contest, to all Android developers.

A Google employee working on the Android mobile phone operating system made a gaffe that has some developers saying they've had enough and plan to focus their efforts on the iPhone, instead of Android.

David McLaughlin, Android advocate at Google, apologized on an online forum for accidentally sending a note intended for winners of a developers' contest to a wider list of developers. The note implies that Google has been privately offering updates to the SDK (software development kit) only to a subset of developers, even while the broader developer community has been complaining about a lack of updates to the SDK.

"Ahhhh, now it makes sense," one developer wrote on the Android forum. "So they've been making private SDK releases while the rest of us suffer with the pile of bugs from the 4+ month old release."

The incident comes just a couple of weeks after one developer began circulating an online petition asking Google for updates or at least information about when updates to the SDK might become available.

Google risks losing developers just as competition for their attention is heating up. Developers can now build applications for Apple's popular iPhone. While Google's Android attracted considerable excitement when it was launched, it has more recently been criticized for a slow development process.

"Personally, I'm heading over to iPhone development," one person wrote on the Android forum.

Some of the developers say that Google required winners of the first round of the competition to sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to receive the latest revisions to the SDK. "The e-mail you all received was an accident, but is essentially an admission of this policy," Josh Guilfoyle, an Android developer wrote on the forum.

Google did not reply to a request for comment about the incident.

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